What is a Meniscus Tear?
The meniscus is made up of two C-shaped disks of cartilage, one that sits on the outer edge of the knee and the other on the inner edge. Their purpose is to provide a cushioning barrier between the upper leg bone and the lower leg bone at the knee joint so they do not rub together. Very often a sporting injury will cause a tear in the meniscus, especially when players pivot and experience forceful twisting of the knee. When the menisci are injured or “torn”, an orthopedic knee specialist can make a diagnosis and set you on the path towards improvement with a treatment plan that resolves your pain and allows you an opportunity to regain your mobility.
At Orthopedic Centers of America, we have helped over 30,000 patients, and we can help you. If you have pain in your knee, then call 1-888-549-0835 to speak with a patient coordinator who will match you with a board-certified orthopedic knee specialist with the experience and advanced training you can trust to help you regain your mobility.
Causes and Risks of Meniscal Tear
Interestingly, females are more likely to tear their meniscus between 11 and 20 years of age. Professional athletes and anyone engaging in sports activities may be prone to meniscus tears. Additionally, 60% of adults over 60 years of age commonly have enough wear and tear in the knee joint to cause a meniscus tear from everyday activities such as awkwardly getting up from a chair, squatting or kneeling.
The risks of developing a meniscal tear increase as you age and as you continue to participate in sports activities. Some people develop arthritis in the knee joint due to a meniscal tear. For this reason, it is important to see an orthopedic physician to prevent additional damage to the joint.
When to See a Knee Specialist
If you have unresolved pain in your knee, hear a “popping” sound in the knee joint or your knee “catches”, then it is important to see an orthopedic knee specialist. An X-ray or MRI will be taken of your knee to facilitate a proper diagnosis, and at Orthopedic Centers of America, our board-certified orthopedic knee specialists compassionately design a treatment plan to give you relief from your knee pain. Orthopedic Centers of America, however, is not involved in prescribing narcotics for pain. Rather than cover up the pain, our physicians seek to address the underlying cause of pain and create a treatment solution for you to get back to doing the things you love.
Symptoms of a Meniscus Tear
The meniscus in the knee joint can degenerate over time and then “tear” during an awkward movement of the joint or a forced movement during sports activities or accidents. The following symptoms may result from an injured meniscus.
- “Locked knee” or “catching” sensation
- “Popping” sound in the knee joint
- Difficulty straightening the knee
There are several non-surgical treatments that may alleviate the pain in your knee. At Orthopedic Centers of America, we want to help you regain your mobility and enjoy life without pain. Call 1-888-549-0835 to speak with a patient coordinator and be matched with an orthopedic specialist. The following are non-surgical treatment options that will help you on the road to recovery.
- Rest – Depending on the injury, rest may allow the knee joint to recover and possibly reduce the pain.
- Ice – Placing an ice pack on the knee will reduce the swelling and may give some relief from pain.
- Bandaging the knee will provide stability for the knee joint and compression for the prevention of additional injuries. The use of ice with the bandaging adds additional effectiveness.
- Physical Therapy – Exercises to increase flexibility, range of motion and strengthen the quadriceps will support the knee while protecting it from further injury.
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) may be considered to provide pain relief and start the healing process.
- Cell therapy, biologics – In more advanced cases, this regenerative medicine treatment may preserve your joint and either delay the need for surgery or replace a surgical option. Ask your physician if you are a candidate.
Because medicine continues to provide less invasive surgical procedures, the recovery time is shortened due to less internal trauma during surgery. The most common surgical procedure for meniscus tears is minimally-invasive arthroscopy in which the meniscus is either trimmed or repaired. All debris from the torn menisci are removed to accelerate healing.
Arthroscopy – The orthopedic surgeon will place a tiny camera through a less than 1 inch incision on the side of the knee so that he can view the surgical area. Another small incision is made for surgical instruments to either stitch the meniscus or trim the area that is torn.
Partial or Total Knee Replacement – In the most severe cases, a partial or total knee replacement may be the best option for your joint injury.
After knee surgery, crutches and a knee brace may be suggested to rest your knee during the window of time in which the most healing will take place. Physical therapy may be recommended to help you return to your previous activities. The exercises may assist the healing process, strengthen the muscles, provide stability for the knee and increase your range of motion. Most of the exercises may be practiced at home and continued for better outcomes.
At Orthopedic Centers of America, we want to match you with an orthopedic knee specialist who can get you back to work and back to doing the things you love. Call 1-888-549-0835 to speak to a patient coordinator and be matched with a physician who can create a treatment plan with you. The call is free, and you will be happy that you took the next step towards pain relief!